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Review: Booth 4

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Booth 4
  • Booth 4

Werewolves and folk singers and and the syllabus for your end-of-the-world prep class. The fourth installment of Booth, the literary journal produced by MFA fellows and students at Butler University, exudes vitality on every page.

The journal begins with four poems by Booth's 2012 Poetry Prize winner, Aubrey Ryan, who weaves together language of the earth and of the stream, creating images that feel fresh, vibrant, ancient and timeless. "...Ask to be/sky and soil beneath. Ask to be hills: old/and holding a sure drum of earth."

Dustin Harbin provides comics and artwork both simple and complex. One piece, "The Devil You Know," marries the stuffed head of a twelve-point buck and a pair of chic black knee-high boots; another, "The Werewolf," portrays the harsh transition from man and beast, and the questions that arise on the other side.

There's an interview with Joe Blair, whose memoir, By the Iowa Sea, details his experiences working as an HVAC repairman during the 2008 Iowa flood and was recognized by Publisher's Weekly as one of the top ten memoirs published in 2012. One key point from the interview: "Fiction and nonfiction aren't all that different. "All writing is fiction. We strike a pose. We hold the pose. And then we strike another."

Among several stories and comics that speak from the sheltered and unknowing perspective of childhood is Joshua Unikel's "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding," which deconstructs the psychology of Cookie Monster: His lack of understanding, or rather, his perception of his lack of understanding; his insecurity; his genius, perhaps. "Cookie Monster doesn't need to keep up appearances or save face. Though his eyes meander and bounce, his gaze is subtly fixed on what he wants." For lit nerds and recreational readers alike. Available from booth.butler.edu.

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